Tag Archives: labor day

Wearing white after labor day

Informant is a student at the Penn State University who grew up in upper NJ.

She told me about a certain rule in the fashion world which requires people to refrain from wearing white after Labor Day:


“So the rule is, you can’t wear white after Labor Day… until Memorial Day when you can again.” she says.

“Why not?” I ask.

“Because… that’s just the rule.” she tells me. “That’s what my mom told me and we do it,  and everybody else I know does it too.”


She couldn’t tell me why, other than that it’s just something people do. I’m not really sure I have a great guess either.

After some research I learned that in the early 1900s, wealthy socialites would create secret “fashion rules” to tell new and old money apart. Eventually it just trickled down to the masses in 1950.

Interesting that despite the information widely available, these traditions continue.



Traditional weekend in Laguna Beach, CA

On Labor Day weekend, in 1990, my informant planned the first of many annual trips to Laguna Beach, California.  She invited three different families, all of which had children that were friends with her children.  They all stayed in the Hotel Laguna for the weekend and went to the beach everyday.  Since then, they have gone every consecutive year on Labor Day weekend.  More and more families continue to join in the tradition, and some of the children make as much of an effort as to come home from college just for that trip.  It has become a summertime tradition and has enabled my informant to create and become part of a folkgroup.

Kathy cherishes this weekend in Laguna that has become a tradition for our family because it is a reliable and secure weekend of vacation time and relaxation.  This trip has become especially important to her since her children went away to college.  Kathy continues this tradition because it is her favorite weekend of the year and she treasures the time she gets to spend with her family.  She really anticipates it all year long.

Ten to fifteen families come to Laguna every year now, meaning the tradition is becoming more popular and the folkgroup is expanding.  Throughout the years, items of folklore within the tradition have developed.  The children always have to go to the Laguna Beach Brewery on Saturday night, they always pick a “song of the summer,” and they always goes to the same restaurant, Mosun, as soon as they arrive on Friday.  To Kathy, Laguna Beach is not just a place but is now a tradition.

I think this is an important item of folklore because it is common for people to lose the strong connection that one should have with their family.  Family traditions are among the most important in my opinion because maintaining close ties with your family is a feeling that cannot be satisfied elsewhere.  Regardless of how often Kathy sees her children throughout the year, she will undoubtedly get to bond with them during the vacation.